x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

BP up as Hayward steps down

The oil giant has announced a first quarter loss of $17.5bn as it confirms reports that Tony Hayward is stepping down as its chief executive.

BP has announced a loss for the last quarter of US$17.15 billion (Dh62.99bn), easily the biggest in its history, and seen its share price has risen in response. The vote of confidence by investors suggests the crater-like impact of the huge Macondo oil spill on the company's bottom line was not as bad as many had expected and that they agree with the steps the board has taken to draw a line under the disaster.

Carl-Henric Swanberg, the company's chairman, said: "The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident. "BP remains a strong business with fine assets, excellent people and a vital role to play in meeting the worlds energy needs. But it will be a different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership supported by robust governance and a very engaged board."

Earlier today, BP confirmed reports that Tony Hayward would step down as chief executive. Bob Dudley, the American head of BP's clean-up operations, is to succeed him as of October 1. The company said it had taken a pretax charge of $30.2bn for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, including the $20bn compensation fund it had previously announced. BP said it would seek to raise $30bn from asset sales over the next 18 months to pay spill-related costs and reduce the company's debt.

In early trading in London today, the company's stock was up 0.35 per cent at 418 pence. tcarlisle@thenational.ae